Category Archives: Birmingham and Fazeley Canal

2022 Back To Exploring

Time for the annual round, a long post so sit back, put your feet up and enjoy.

The New Year kicked off with winter maintenance in the house. Having two hallways proved time consuming refreshing the woodwork and patching up the worst of the wallpaper. But this was broken up with weekly walks to see the sea. I resumed work on the development showing of #unit21 for Dark Horse and a Christmas present of a cheese making kit proved very tasty in creating my first ever Yorkshire Curd Cheese Cake from scratch. I plan on having a second go at this soon!

In February work progressed in Huddersfield towards opening night, the floor painted, final costume fittings and then the set and lighting added. All while Mick serviced our life jackets and Tilly grew more and more bored of life in the house.

Once the show was opened we had a trip down to London to catch up with the London Leckenbys for a belated Christmas, on our way back we visited Oleanna. When ever we could we visited Blue Water Marina to do jobs and have a pack up lunch. The stove was reblacked, walls washed down and cupboards sorted through.

Then at the end of February, Mick and I left Tilly in charge of the house, we packed enough clothes and food for a couple of days boating and headed to Thorne to move Oleanna through Thorne Lock before a winter stoppage began. Blimey it was chilly out there, but wonderful to be back afloat and moving Oleanna to Goole. Now we were all set to move back onboard and have a few weeks of pootling about in Yorkshire.

Back at the house we made it ready for the first of this years lodgers. Our boat Christmas tree was retired into the back garden where we hoped it would thrive, this of course was before we knew a drought was on it’s way! Tilly said goodbye to the dragon that lives up the chimney, left Seville and Valencia to look after the house before having to endure the car trip back to boat life.

After a few days sorting ourselves, including having one of Joan’s gluten free Chinese takeaways, we unplugged Oleanna and backed out from our mooring at Goole Marina (Boat House). We spent the next three weeks bobbing about between Pollington Lock, Doncaster and Goole. Maintenance jobs were ticked off the list.

Alistair did engine and weedhatch jobs, Frank joined us a couple of times to do carpentry jobs, our galley drawers no longer have a life of their own, the covers had a good scrub and a spray of Wet and Forget to help them keep clean.

In March I’d set myself a charity challenge, to knit as many pairs of socks in the month as I could. Nine pairs knitted for people in return for sponsorship, I also got a very generous donation of yarn from Lisa on NB Summer Wind.

Our plans had had to change as Thorne Lock still hadn’t closed, but was about to! Plans to visit York and West Yorkshire were abandoned, we’d bought ourselves a Gold Licence for the year so wanted to make the most of it. So on March 24th with all the jobs done we turned our backs on Goole and set off into the sunset to see where 2022 would take us, all three of us grinning from ear to ear.

We made our way to Keadby ready for our booked passage on the tidal River Trent, the fast route south. A phone call from a boating friend in need of support meant we’d be doing our best to make use of the spring tide to reach Cromwell in one go despite the weather forecast. We spent a couple of days doing what we could to help in Newark before we needed to be on the move again.

On upstream to The Trent and Mersey keeping up our cruising hours and Tilly hoping we’d stop with enough time for her to explore each day before cat curfew.

Up to Fradley then onto the Coventry Canal, we played leapfrog with NB Free Spirit for a couple of days.

Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, up the Curdworth Flight then a turn left onto a section of the Grand Union we’d not been on before at Star City. Up Garrison Locks, Typhoo Basin and then the Ashted Locks where we now have the measure of that Tunnel! A mooring space at the top of Farmers Bridge had our name on it. This was handy for a road trip to swap lodgers and for visits to the dentist. It also meant we were in shot when a group came to jump the top lock!

Fast forward to 6:15

Our route out of Bumingham saw us through Edgbaston Tunnel, down Lapworth followed by Hatton. A pause was needed for Tilly’s annual visit to a new vet, the one here the closest to the canal we’ve visited so far, also handy for The Cape of Good Hope!

At Napton we joined the Oxford Canal and headed for Braunston, pausing to stock up on goodies from the butcher. On the Grand Union we made our way up over the hill and started our descent down The Long Buckby flight back towards tidal waters.

On the 1st of May we turned left at Gayton Junction onto the Northampton Arm dropping down the flight to the River Nene. We’d only been this way once before and that was when we’d just bought Lillian (NB Lillyanne) back in 2014. We bought ourselves a second Abloy key, showed our Gold Licence to the chap at Northampton Marina and started our journey down stream, time to explore.

A decision was made to head down to Peterborough taking note of places we’d want to visit on our return journey. We worked our way through the guillotine locks, many button operated and others with the wheel of cardiovascular overload.

Tilly loved many of the moorings apart from those in Peterborough where crowds surrounded the boat and meant returning from shore leave was impossible for several hours.

In two weeks we reached the end of the river at the Dog in a Doublet Lock. Here the river becomes tidal, we’d save that trip for another time and turned back upstream to head for the Middle Level.

Here we wanted to explore all the drainage channels, but decided we’d do that on our return too. So we took the direct route and crossed the low lying waters in three days arriving at Salters Lode on Mick’s birthday. The levels out on the tidal stretch of the Great Ouse needing to be just right to get through the lock, turn and head upstream to Denver Sluice.

A lovely GOBA mooring was found on the River Wissey and eventually the sun came out for a birthday barbeque, we’d made it to the Great Ouse.

The remainder of May was spent exploring the River Wissey, Ely and The Little Ouse. Brandon Lock sits at the most easterly point on the connected navigable network for boats Oleanna’s size. Sadly a build up of silt stopped us from getting her bow into the lock, but we did get her as far east as was possible, ticking off the fourth point of the compass.

There was a trip to Hull Truck to meet old friends at a gala evening followed by a meet up with Micks family back in the Fens. At the end of the month we got to know Neil the seal at Ten Mile Bank moorings as he basked in the sun and took sunset dips in the river.

The Jubilee was seen in at Denver, we lit our guiding lights as a Lancaster Bomber flew overhead heading to see the Queen. The Relief Channel gave us a good mooring to be able to have a trip away to celebrate Dawn and Lee’s 50th Birthdays in Scarborough, we went as Wallace and Gromit and won an Oscar!

Another visit to Ely to see the Cathedral, Farmers market and meet up with Heather from NB Bleasdale, the first of many this summer. The River Lark was explored, the end of navigation reached with a handy mooring outside a pub.

We headed for the Cam, our paths crossing for the first time with Ken and Sue from NB Cleddau. Then onwards in to Cambridge where we visited colleges, ate chilled medication and had a day trip to Duxford so that Mick could sit in the pilots seat of a Trident 2, a seat his Dad had sat in on many a flight.

Oleanna squeezed along each of the three Lodes, Wicken, Burwell and Reach. Wicken Lode a magical place and a day visit to Anglesey Abbey with it’s wonderful gardens.

Then we headed onto the Old West a river with a very different feel than the Ely Ouse. A pause was needed when we reached Earith for us to have a tour of Heathers new to her boat GT. Once off the tidal water we were on a different Great Ouse again. Here St Ives, St Neots and Hemingford gave us sunsets, D shaped locks, huge meadows and wonderful towns and villages to explore.

As the temperatures started to rise I needed to do some work. Cruising happened in the mornings, my Panto script and sketches were done in the shade of what trees we could find. White sheets were bought and we hoped for a mooring with shade for the really hot days that were to come. Tilly took to lying on the floor and we took to wearing wet t-shirts to help us to keep cool. Thankfully the hot blast only lasted a couple of days then the temperature dropped and we could continue to head upstream.

July 21st we reached the navigable limit of the River Great Ouse, having to reverse some distance to be able to turn round and return to Bedford for the River Festival.

Here we met up with Ken and Sue, Jennie and Chris from NB Tentatrice and Heather again. Plenty of things to see, do and hear. The boat parades, raft races, vintage cars, all sorts kept us busy for the two days.

Now at the end of July we alternated the days between cruising and my work. More beautiful days cruising and more wonderful sunsets, one day off to visit Cambridge for some more chilled medication and to see the Hockney exhibition.

August saw more hot days. Trips to London to celebrate birthdays, panto meetings, catch up with best friends and travellers over from Australia.

On the 15th August we crossed back from Denver Sluice to the Middle Level having really enjoyed our three months on the Great Ouse. Now water levels were a worry along with having enough time to reach Oxford for me to go to work in October. We made the decision to come back and explore the Middle Level another year, maybe we’ll cross The Wash to get there!

By the end of August our progress up stream on the River Nene slowed to a halt. First one lock broke then another two ahead of us. We’d recently been accepted to join the Reflections Flotilla on the Thames to mark the Queens Jubilee in a few weeks time, now that time was ticking away.

When we did get moving again we had to make up our cruising hours. With the news of the passing of the Queen we didn’t know if the flotilla would still be going ahead, we carried on at pace waiting for news. Back up the River Nene, turning onto the Grand Union, working our way southwards. The news came through that the flotilla would go ahead, but now in remembrance of the Queen.

With a couple of days to spare we squeezed into the Eco-Moorings by Islington Tunnel. Two days of catching up with family and more friends over from Australia before we joined boats heading along the Regents Canal towards Limehouse Basin. An afternoon of activity saw numerous narrowboats festooned with white lights.

On the 24th of September the Thames barrier was closed and we all headed out of Limehouse Lock up stream to Chelsea where we clung onto buoys until the early evening when the flotilla started to muster.

Getting on for 150 boats all displaying white lights got into formation and headed down stream. Crowds stood on the illuminated bridges and Tower Bridge opened up in a royal salute as we passed underneath. What a truly amazing day.

Now we had to head towards Banbury, back round the Regents Canal as a leak in the engine bay needed testing on the calm waters of the canal rather than the tideway. By the time we reached Brentford we were confident with Oleanna’s engine again. On the Thames Tilly got a birthday present of a night on a Cliveden Island. Sadly we got an unexpected present on our arrival in Oxford, a second red line on a covid test! Panto painting couldn’t be put off so we made our way gradually up the Oxford Canal keeping our distance from people at locks and taking maximum doses of paracetamol.

A week of painting in Banbury before I moved to Chipping Norton to stack up the hours over the next four weeks getting the 50th anniversary panto ready. Rendez Vousing with Oleanna at weekends in Banbury and Coventry kept me sane. Mick had to single hand across the summit of the Oxford Canal to avoid the first of the winter stoppages.

All three of us were back onboard by mid November, covid free and vaccinated. We took things slowly now, time to rest up, meet friends, gather family and pootle towards Christmas. Our 20th Anniversary was celebrated with a Chinese takeaway at Alvecote Marina, a planned stop which ended up being extended due to plummeting temperatures. The canal froze, there’d be no moving the outside for Tilly!

Temperatures lifted dramatically and the ice just about vanished in a couple of days, we could now be on our way to Christmas. Alrewas was a good place to spend the festive days, a very good butchers and a village with lots of character and humour.

Bookings in the New Year had been made for passage on the tidal River Trent for us to reach Yorkshire, but this would not be. The Trent had risen before Christmas, Cranfleet Flood Gates were shut ahead of us, so no New Year at Hazelford Lock. Instead our alternator played up and we sought out a mooring to hook up to and see in 2023.

This year we’d been wanting to explore again. This year we cruised miles of new water, made new friends, got too hot, got iced in, got stuck, got to be in the first illuminated flotilla on the Thames for 300 years. What a great year it has been.

So our vital statistics for 2022 according to Canalplan are

Total distance is 1249 miles, 6½ furlong and 555 locks . There were 88 moveable bridges of which 29 are usually left open; 156 small aqueducts or underbridges and 18 tunnels,  a total of 7 miles 2 ¼ furlongs underground and 8 major aqueducts.

This was made up of 227 miles, 1 1/2 furlongs of narrow canals; 363 miles, 2 furlongs of broad canals; 85 miles, 5 furlongs of commercial waterways; 269 miles, 1 furlong of small rivers; 234 miles, 7 1/4 furlongs of large rivers; 69 miles, 6 furlongs of tidal rivers; 176 narrow locks; 232 broad locks; 54 large locks; 2 locks on major waterways.

731.7 engine hours

1156.1 litres diesel, 5 (although we’ve got 1 empty now) gas bottles (used for central heating as well as cooking), 28.5 litres oil, 3 oil filters, 1 fuel filter, 2 air filters, 1 water pump, 2 new belts, 690kg coal, 1 overnight guest twice, 6 packs Dreamies (not enough!), 56 friends, a record breaking 41 Mrs Tilly stamps of approval (4 in one day!), 15 pairs socks, 2 shows designed, 9 lodgers, 2 lots gluten free puff pastry, 9 supermarket deliveries, 30 boxes of wine delivered, 2 lost unicorns.

Thank you all for joining us on our journey. Wonder where we’ll get to in 2023?

Christmas On A Bike. 21st, 22nd December

Sutton Road Bridge to King’s Orchard Marina, Coventry Canal to Common Lock 14, Trent and Mersey Canal

Christmas on a bike

Mick headed off with the bike this morning to see if he could find some engine oil no luck. But he did return with one of the B&Q Christmas Trees, possibly the smallest one they had. This morning they had been reduced again to £3! Bargain. It stands at about the same height our old tree had grown to, but has been potted in a very haphazard way. The old tree had one side that was angled in line with Oleanna’s tumblehome (angle of the cabin sides), the new tree has only one face that looks straight, any movement to one side and it has quite a lean. If it copes with life onboard, when it gets repotted I’ll try to straighten it up. But then I don’t want to encourage it to grow too much otherwise it won’t fit inside next year and may have to be retired after one festive season!

All this meant we had a later start than planned, but at least we now had Christmas on board with us. Time to pootle along the long pound towards Fradley.

Our usual mooring

Very few boats were in Hopwas. We passed where we normally stop, I’m sure Tilly was looking longingly out of the window at all the trees, but stopping here wouldn’t get us to our Christmas bird in time. A lady passed by on her horse. We were surprised to see a boat moored along the length opposite the danger zone. Here a wide concrete edge tends to put most people off mooring, maybe it was intentional. But this boat had taken it’s ropes a good three foot in on the towpath to find somewhere to hammer into.

Sunny day

The clouds cleared and we soon had blue skies, lovely if a touch chilly. Fields are newly ploughed and sewn, some with shoots of a few inches high, obviously enjoying the wet weather.

One of my favourites

Approaching Whittington I waited for the weathervane of the Grey Fergie. It has to be one of my favourites and today I got to see how much detail there is on it.

Our turn to go through

Just before the bend under Whittington Bridge there is a tree half way across the cut. This of course is where we met a boat coming the opposite way, Mick had just enough time to slam on the breaks to let the other boat through. Phew!

Huddlesford Junction

Past the Lichfield Canal the sun making the house at the junction look so picturesque. Behind it soon appeared the works for HS2. Red piledriver, Yellow piledriver, not the same as lorries but just as hard to say.

We don’t remember the huge pile of earth that must have been here a while opposite Kings Orchard Marina, it must be more to do with HS2. We pulled in just after the marina entrance and as soon as our ropes were tied I was inside reciting the shore leave rules to Tilly. She didn’t listen or care. JUST OPEN THE DOOR!!!!!

Hurry UP!!!

Sadly within two minutes of her paws touching the towpath a chap and his dog came from under the bridge and Tilly was straight back inside the boat. Then a walker too! So not fare! Tilly was good, came and went a few times and was back on board cleaning between her toes a little before 4pm, cat curfew.

It was too late to start putting the Christmas lights on the outside of Oleanna, well that’s the excuse Mick used. However there was plenty of time to bake the Lebkuchen and decorate the Christmas tree.

The Christmas hamper was released from the top shelf of a cupboard. Lights and baubles and silver ribbon hung and wrapped round. A star popped on the top of the tree, Lebkuchen iced. As soon a they were deemed dry enough it was time for a cuppa and biscuit. Christmas has just about arrived on Oleanna.

0 locks, WE 6.63 miles, Pip Nebo 6.6 miles, Mick Nebo 6.6 miles, 1 sad gits Christmas tree, 0 ice, 2 hours! 1 happy cat, 1 disgruntled cat, 250ml evostick,1st tidal stretch booked, 15 biscuits, 2ft decorated.

https://goo.gl/maps/x4yVgc9niYpSprNT6

Thursday 22nd.

A grey drab day compared to yesterday. Padded trousers and layers with the top one being waterproof. We pootled our way towards Fradley Junction.

Signs on the towpath suggested there was work going on. Then two sections of fencing lay on the ground suggesting that the towpath had been closed. This was where there had been a closure recently due to a leaking culvert under the canal. The off side field had a muddy track through it and where the leak had been there was even more mud and a new manhole cover on each side of the cut. A couple of chaps were busy putting in new fencing along the towpath.

Oops!

A short distance further on a group of chaps stood around one of those small tractor hedge cutters with big huge tyres, suitable for most terrain. Well apart from terrain that had recently been dredged to use as back filling behind some new wooden piling. The tractor had sunk on one side up to it’s belly. To get it out the chaps were digging the back filling out and dropping it back into the canal. Wonder how long it took them to get it out?

Not the last of the ginger today

Now should we stop for water before the junction or after? The tap at the services is extremely slow, the one before not so, but it is a longer walk away from the bins. As we approached the swing bridge was being opened by some paddle boarders, they left it open for us, so we carried on to the junction.

Fradley Junction

I stepped off, leaving Mick to close the gate and walked up to set Junction Lock. No queues, no boat coming from the next lock up. Mick pulled Oleanna in, a handy post box had caught his eye right by the lock landing, the last Christmas card popped in the post. Then Oleanna dropped down in the lock to the services.

Going down

Water, bins, shore based facilities, Santas, Christmas suits, present hunts, onion slicing and frying, bread chopping, plenty of time to get things sorted as the water tank filled.

Mick and I swapped over. Below Keepers Lock a boat was coming into the next lock, Mick waited to empty our lock until they were filling theirs. Our lock emptied quicker than theirs filled and they took their time exiting the lock, pulling in to the landing. Below a moored boat had come adrift and needed pulling back in before we emptied our lock. Mick headed down with the other crew to see what they could do.

Adrift

The bow rope was still attached, the centre line passed to Mick and then the stern line, the boat pulled in. The mooring pins were thankfully still attached to the ropes (handy those loops on some pins) and somehow they were pushed back into the ground. We don’t think they’ll hold for long.

We dropped down Hunts Lock, our intention had been to do Common Lock too and moor up in the next pound for the night, but the lock landing had a boat length of armco before it, so we pulled in to make use of it rather than cling on with spikes below.

Bit damp his outside

1pm, 3 hours shore leave for Tilly. Pastry rolled out, filling mixed together (I don’t like the new sausage skins Sainsburys are using, they’re like jelly!), rolls rolled and cut to length, then baked. Warm sausage rolls for lunch, yum.

Whilst Mick attached our Christmas lights, I did secret things inside and Tilly made the most of the friendly cover and sideways trees. She also made the most of having very wet paws to trample all over the boat when she came in! Why can’t cat’s learn to wipe their feet! Because they have PAWS!!!

No photo today of the finished lights, I’ll try to get one tomorrow.

3 locks, WE 4.16 miles, Pip Nebo 3.1 miles (operator error), Mick’s Nebo 4.2 miles, 1 swing bridge swung, 3 paddle boarders. 1 all terrain vehicle stuck in the terrain, 1 canal being filled up, 1 water tank full, 8 sausage rolls, 2 more tidal bookings, 1 long line of lights, 5 presents wrapped, episode 2 of season 2 Happy Valley.

https://goo.gl/maps/UjwatfdDeTpSUXyT8

Ice! What Ic…. Ooh! 20th December

‘Avecoat Marina to Sutton Road Bridge, Birmingham and Fazeley Canal

Alarm set just in case we slept in. Breakfasted, water tank filling and rubbish disposed of as the first boat came past on the canal heading towards Tamworth. This boat, a short while later returned and pulled in on the towpath opposite us.

Smiles all round this morning

Just before we rolled back the covers the chugging of an engine started up, NB Capricorn was about to reverse out from it’s mooring. There she went, no problem, no ice. None what-so-ever. Covers rolled up and ready for our departure I tapped on NB Mr Blue Sky’s roof to wish John a Happy Christmas. He then stayed to watch our departure, which thankfully went well.

Reversing out and turning there was just enough room. Then the steep right to the entrance and left to the service area on the towpath. NB Capricorn was moored up chatting away, they pulled forward having topped up their tank. Time to fill ours and pay for our extra days in the marina. We’d originally planned to stay for ten nights and ended up staying seventeen. Out of those the marina was frozen for twelve nights.

Hello Harnser somewhere over there

We could have carried on to top up the diesel elsewhere where it may have been cheaper, but we didn’t want any detours today, there was shopping to do. As Mick headed off to pay a lady arrived to see how big the queue was, she’d pulled in some distance away and was wanting a top up and coal. We chatted away, it turns out we may be neighbours for Christmas as our destination is the same. Sandy has only been living afloat for 14 weeks, the last ten days iced in at Polesworth. Her journey so far today had involved some pretty thick ice. As we pulled out she ran back to get her boat, we think she was next in line.

Capricorn topping up

The plan had been to follow NB Capricorn along the canal as they were heading the same direction as us, but they seemed settled for a while and we wanted to be off. I pushed the bow out and off we set, free from all the ice. What ice! It was as if there had never been any.

Sunk

Okay, so in sheltered places we came across cat ice that crackled itself out of our way, someone had already been through it. Past the house where they must hoover the lawn. Past the end of garden mooring where we got to know the owners when Tilly was a very new boat cat and had to have her vaccinations. No boat here today. The supermarket trolley that Mick had seen on the ice a few days ago was now visible on the bottom of the canal. Thankfully it was to one side so not a problem for us. If we’d tried to pull it out it would only end up back in the canal and most probably in a worse position for passing boats.

A Lock!

Glascote top lock came into view, no boats on the Co-op moorings. I decided to work the locks, hoping my leg was recovered enough. I filled the top lock, walked down to lift a paddle on the bottom lock so it could fill as we emptied the top lock. Paddles lifted lock emptied, gates opened, then closed, yep my leg still had a problem, more evident when pushing and pulling gates. I walked down opened the bottom lock where Mick and I swapped roles.

Glascote Top Lock

Just as I brought Oleanna out of the bottom lock I could see the bow of a boat coming round the bend and under the bridge ahead, we could leave the gates open.

Goodbye

More patches of ice gradually getting that bit thicker. Large sheets of it, the surface melted in places creating an undulating surface. A few boats were moored near the Tame Aqueduct, here the ice was the thickest, maybe about an inch, someone else had already broken it up. We slowed right down, a boat coming towards us, the ice chinking against the armco and moored boats.

A sea of ice

At Fazely Junction we headed right to Fradley and the North. Two boats sat at the water point filling up their tanks. From here on it felt like we were the first boat through. Thankfully what ice we came across wasn’t too thick, but it did sound like we were surrounded by a primary school assembly every child with some rudimentary percussion instrument.

Fazeley Junction

We counted the bridges to where we hoped to moor, there was space. Tilly was very very excited. Trees!!! Sideways trees!! Friendly cover!!!!!!!!!! But things needed to be done which would mean we’d be out for the afternoon, so no shore leave. Boring b***********!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Another day added to the eighteen she’d already endured without stepping off the boat wouldn’t hurt.

Looking back

Lunch, NB Capricorn came past and then Sandy pulled up behind us. At least we now knew someone else would be breaking the ice ahead of us.

Time to tick off the last Christmas shopping and things for work. First B&Q who had some possible small Christmas trees, reduced to half price. Still twice as much as I paid seven years ago in Newark, but the trees were twice the size. Asda had some very dinky trees, not worth the effort. The tree purchase could wait for tomorrow.

One of those might do!

I walked to the furthest shop I wanted to visit, M&S. Then crossed over the queues of traffic to Hobby Craft. Here I had a long list of things to buy for work. Some things needed rethinking due to what was available, a £1 canvas bag and stuffing would go together to make a pregnancy bump. Could I make chip cartons from sheets of A4 card? Would the 4 sheets of A1 foam cor fit in an Ikea blue bag to aid carrying them back to the boat. Sadly no!

It appeared as if the population of the Midlands had all decided to come out in their cars to sit in traffic jams to go slowly round the round abouts in the retail park. So many people and so few ways to walk from place to place with streams, fences, walls in the way. I nearly got run over walking the wrong way through the McDonalds drive through, did you know they are open 7am to 11am on Christmas Day!

Ow much!!!!

Mick had popped to Sainsburys. I visited Pets at home, successfully buying Tilly a present for Christmas. Then we made our way back to Oleanna in the dark, the fairy lights on her wreath guiding us home. Finding places to stow things on board is getting quite hard.

That way please

2 locks, WE 4.45miles, Pip’s Nebo 4.9 miles (including walking between locks), Mick’s Nebo 4.5 miles, 1 ice free marina, 66 litres, 7 extra nights, 0 to 1 inch ice, 1 new Christmas friend, £600 not £5,000, A1 things, 250grams stuffing, A4 card, 6 secret things, 2 boxes wine, 10 litres litter, 7+gravy food, 2 boaters and 1 boat cat free again!

https://goo.gl/maps/FHCfNPRqsjiFCczd9

Should We Stay Or Should We Go Now? 4th December

Alvecote Marina

As we laid in bed having our morning cuppa we had a quandary. With the weather set to take a turn to the colder end should we head onwards and stock up with coal and diesel? Our natural boaters instinct was to stock up and be prepared. Micks cold and my calf muscle made us want to stay put, after all we are plugged in and have a water tap close to hand in the marina.

Different sort of ideas

We plan on being in the marina for a few days, trips away needed and the boat being plugged in handy as the Alde boiler can work on electric to keep any major chill at bay. The marina office is closed on Sundays so we couldn’t check in today, hence our arrival yesterday. Maybe we should have checked in, been pointed to our mooring, but then continued onwards to Glascote and Fazeley to be able to stock up at Fazeley Marina where the diesel ten days ago was around 22p cheaper than here at Alvecote! Diesel prices depend on who had the cheapest delivery recently.

What to do? One minute we were gearing ourselves up to move Oleanna, the next a quiet day with cooked breakfast appealed more. The breakfast won. Here’s hoping we don’t regret our decision when the temperature plummets.

This seems to becoming very regular

The Geraghty zoom subjects consisted of Eastern European sofas, pigeon scarers and pass the parcel etiquette. This was followed by breakfast.

How many windows open?!

Time for me to do some work and order in some materials to make some props. Being in one place for a few days means I can get things delivered to a nearby shop for collection. The actual building of the props will wait til after Christmas so that we can actually live in the boat for the next few weeks. Calculations were done, working out how many yoga mats would be needed, a lot of πD maths to get the most out of them.

More in depth calculations

Christmas shopping was also started on-line. Somehow the day had vanished, not that we’d seen much of it being slotted into our mooring, a boat 18inches away on both sides.

The day ended with a roast chicken and arrangements being made with the London Leckenbys for the start of the family festivities.

0 locks, 0 miles, 4 siblings, 4 bags of coal, 5 yoga mats, 2 sheets corex, 70cm long spoon, 1 watch list chocka, 1 float waited for, 1.714kg chicken, 1 cosy bored cat.

Oh BUM………ingham! 16th April

Cambrian Wharf

How did they do that? You turn your back for one minute! They go and tie up BUMingham again!

Bricks Bricks Brick!

This bit of BUMingham has lots of bricks but mainly on the bottom, it also has a lock for moving the outside up and down. I don’t often get to sniff these things and She wasn’t too keen on me doing that. To be truthful I wasn’t too keen on doing much in BUMingham anyway. Far too many Shes and Toms about the place and some of them were moving the outside with all three of us in it. I so hope they’ve tied BUMingham up very very well!

Hmmm, how do they move these things up and down?

The first boat into the locks was at 8am.

Down bang on 8am

Last night we’d heard the lock being filled, it was dark. Mick peeked out of the curtains and could see Coal Boat Roach being bow hauled into the lock, it looked like Rich was wearing waders. We didn’t think that Farmers Bridge was on his normal route and he’d been moored up in the afternoon, fully laden with coal. What do we know?

Then quite a while later we could hear the top paddle being wound up again, the lock was filling. It carried on filling and filling and filling. Was someone trying to empty the Birmingham level?! A chap had gone down the locks earlier single handing leaving paddles up.

Zoom not working properly this morning

No this was Rich from Roach again. ? Mick went out to see what was happening.

During the day Roach had managed to get a bicycle around its prop. To remove it they had dropped Roach into the first pound down the flight, then drained that pound so that the problem could be dealt with easier out of the water, hence the waders. A bright green bike was pulled off the prop, the pound refilled and Roach was brought back up onto the Birmingham level.

After half an hour we got pictures but no-one could hear us

Today didn’t start off quite so exciting. The Flapper pub across the way is very much open again and last night proved to be a popular place for birthdays, we think things died down there at around 1am. Our mooring may be handy but it is noisy, however it will serve our purposes until after Easter.

The Antony Gormley is back in town in a slightly new position

After having difficulty joining the Geraghty Zoom Mick headed off to pick up a hire car from Budget at Birmingham Airport. He’d hunted round for the best deal over the Easter weekend and this was the one around about £120 for 3 days. A reckie for parking places nearby had been done and he’d registered with RingGo Parking. This left Tilly and myself onboard pottering.

Scrubbing to get rid of the graffiti

The boat dipped! Hang on! Yes you guessed it someone was having their photo taken stood on the stern of Oleanna. They were apologetic when I asked if I could go and stand in their living room to have my photo taken!

Blimey it’s busy all of a sudden!

The general hubhub gradually increased over the next hour, followed by dull thudding noises. I peeked out through the curtains to see twenty maybe more young men gathered around the lock, the thudding noise was coming from them taking it in turns to jump across the chamber.

How many narrow locks have we seen with memorials alongside for people who’ve tried to jump across, usually under the influence of alcohol, and it’s all gone very wrong! This was my first thought.

Then as I watched it was very obvious that they knew what they were doing making the jump look so so easy. These were free runners. There are several places in Birmingham where you can train to free run, but I suspect it’s a lot cheaper to jump over the top lock at Farmers Bridge! It also seemed to be a big social thing.

Birmingham

Several people took photos, others filmed the more experienced runners. The younger chaps just jumped the chamber, others continued on to jump up the wall opposite towards the scaffolding, one or two more did summersaults. Everyone practicing their particular moves, wiping dust from the soles of the trainers before setting off.

Tilly was interested too, so we went out the back to watch. I could show them a thing or two! But I’ll leave it for now.

https://youtube.com/shorts/25hWqPWkfNg?feature=share

It was interesting watching them all, yes there was some danger in their actions, but I wouldn’t be the one to haul someone out of the lock with a head injury. The skill that some of these chaps had was impressive. A couple of old queens sat on the bench watching them, maybe attracted by the skill or maybe just by the six packs on display!

After an hour they gradually moved off, heading into the city centre in front of the library to practice tumbles along with the street dancers.

Cass Art window

Now the entertainment had finished I headed to stock up on card to make models from. As we’ll be on totally new waters in a few weeks I’d rather have what I need on board already to make a white card model for Panto. Once I was back, the drawing board slot was emptied, new card added to the big folder of card and then everything stowed away again until needed.

Our mooring at the top of Farmers Bridge

We sat back, enjoyed our evening meal, then wondered what time The Flapper would close tonight! Cambrian Wharf eventually quietened down at around 1am again.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 train, 1 hire car, 1 photo, 30 plus free runners, 0 injuries, 1 cat wanting to join in, 1 new hobby for Mick? 2 sheets card, 1 designer ready to design, 1 very noisy pub.

Oleanna V Tunnel. 15th April

Star City to Cambrian Wharf, Birmingham

Last nights mooring was very quiet, well apart from the air conditioner unit on the side of the cinema. Only one boat went past us and despite the padlock being no more we felt safe, C&RT did say someone would be out this morning to fix it.

Time to explore, well tick of another stretch of the BCN that we’ve not cruised before. Now when I say BCN, it is actually part of the Grand Union Canal. The working boatmen used to call this the ‘Bottom Road’. Coal was needed for the power station at Star City, there were gas works and numerous goods sheds along the 2.6 mile stretch. Fellows Morton and Clayton had a boat dock where boats such as President were built. On the Alarum talk the other evening Kate had suggested it was one of those arms where the grime and dirt from years gone by still seeps out from the silt at the bottom of the canal. So we expected a lot worse than we actually got.

No single bottom gates on the Garrison flight, so the double gates would all need kicking open. Thankfully all the top gates had held the water back so each and every lock opened without any fuss.

Bottom Lock

Alongside the bottom lock was what looked like a side pond. Drawing from the side pond before drawing water from the pound above would save water, similar to the Hanbury Locks at the top of the Droitwich Canal. None of the other locks seemed to have the same arrangement, but we did notice something we’ve not seen elsewhere.

Grandeur overgrown

At the second lock as I lifted the top paddles Mick heard gurgling behind him, then bubbling up by the bottom gate recesses. This lock not only filled at the top but also the bottom a bit like some Thames locks. Maybe that was what the side pond had been for at the bottom lock.

A few more of the locks also filled at the bottom end on one side or the other. We made good progress up the flight and then ducked our way under numerous bridges before reaching Bordesley Junction where we came back onto familiar water.

Bordesley Junction looking the way we’d come

Towards the end of last year we’d come down the Camp Hill Flight which continues the Grand Union on towards Knowle and Hatton. Today we turned right and onto the Grand Union Digbeth Branch.

There are works of art in amongst the tags

Here just about every wall has been covered in graffiti. boards on posts have been put up and these now obviously are covered too, painting in front of a mass of painting.

Through Warwick Bar where building works are still on going and past Minerva Works all shades of blue.

At Digbeth Junction we decided to turn left and go down into Typhoo Basin, new water again, not much of it. Here three arms used to spread out and Typhoo packaged tea here from 1925 until 1978 despite being badly damaged in WW2. There was just enough room give or take a tree or two to wind.

Curzon Street Tunnel

Once through Curzon Street Tunnel we faced the Ashted flight. The locks here also pretty water tight, but these were all set against us. We soon got into the swing of working an uphill flight, the locks here closer together than on the Garrison flight.

University and HS2

Today all around us was quiet, nobody working on HS2 and most of the students away on their Easter holidays.

Ahead lay Ashted Tunnel, today we were going to win the battle against it. So far the tally stood at Tunnel 2, Lillian 0, Oleanna 0. Lillian lost a nav light on our first trip through, then last year Oleanna gained extra gouges out of her grabrail, all patched in now but not a pretty sight.

Ashted Tunnel ahead!

We remembered the advice others had given us so as soon as the lock below the tunnel was filling I walked ahead to empty the lock on the other side of the tunnel. This we’d done last year, you most certainly don’t want to be part way through the tunnel when the lock empties!

Mick busy filling the pound below

Last year we’d waited for the levels to settle before going through the tunnel. This had been our mistake. Today Mick opened the gate to the lock below the tunnel then lifted a paddle at the bottom end of the lock, letting water flow through it to lower the pound through the tunnel.

I returned and gave up dates on the level, 4 inches below, 5. That’s when we thought we should drop the paddles, the short pound below the lock now really quite full. I took the centre line and as Mick drove Oleanna through the tunnel I kept her towards the towpath side.

Safely through

No bumps or scrapes, the lower level doing the trick and the rope just incase. This time we’d won! Tunnel 2, Pip and Mick 1! Thank you for your advice Brian and Adam it worked a treat.

We paused on the bollards for lunch which meant we were overtaken by another boat. They and the boat a distance behind them most probably taking advantage of the new lower pound through the tunnel, possibly not even aware of the possible trouble that we’d averted.

Words from on high

With a cuppa and refuelled we were ready for the Farmers Bridge flight. We knew we’d be following another boat so every lock would have to be turned.

We started at a steady pace, Mick closing up behind and me going on ahead. Then a volunteer arrived, the boat ahead had four crew so he’d come to offer his services to us.

After one lock we got a rhythm going. The volunteer heading up to the next lock to empty it, open and close the bottom gate. I would then lift the top two paddles, as Oleanna came up Mick would step off and be ready to open the top gate allowing me to close the off side paddle before crossing the gate which he then opened. I then closed the other paddle and closed up behind.

The lock in a tunnel

Through the dark, under the buildings. Then past all the scaffolding on the tower blocks having their cladding removed.

Entering the tourist attraction

On reaching the top three locks we were now a tourist attraction, gongoozlers watching our every move. Mick enlisted a German lady to help with the gates, then I had a Japanese chap help with another.

At the top

At the top a space sat waiting for us right alongside the lock, a 14 day mooring at that. Mick brought Oleanna out from the lock and then reversed her back into the space. Job done, we’d reached our destination.

Our mooring right by the lock

The sun had been out all day, so we made the most of sitting on the bench by Oleanna and watching the world go by. Tilly however was a little bit perturbed as other people seemed to be moving the outside with all of us in it!

Hmmmm……!

24 locks, 5.08 miles, 1 right, 2 lefts, 1 straight on, 1 victory, 1 reverse for a mooring, 1 sunny day, 1 disgruntled cat.

https://goo.gl/maps/JaTBQgkQtNVb3sX3A

Left Left Please. 14th April

Curdworth Visitor Moorings to Star City, Grand Union: Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal

Heading up to the Birmingham plateau usually means long hard days of locks, no matter which direction you come from. However today was going to be a short one for us as we were heading for new waters!

Daffodils and chickens

The boats around us had already moved off before us, the Anglo Welsh boat starting it’s engine bang on 8am. We’d noticed a slight list to Oleanna, I pushed out the bow, but the stern was being obstinate. Mick popped her in reverse, then pushed, then reverse again. Eventually we were off the bottom just as a boat was coming through the bridge behind us. Sorry we pulled out, we’d reached the point where we just had to carry on.

Minworth Bottom Lock

Minworth Bottom Lock was very full, in fact the top gate was open. A chap was busy picking litter from quite a mound of duck weed on the off side. He asked if we could wait whilst he removed the worst of the weed and rubbish from the lock before I emptied it. Mick hung around below and I chatted with the chap. He does this off his own back, with rakes, landing nets, a bucket (now broken) and a high sided wheelbarrow.

Handy bus stop

By the time I emptied the lock and opened the bottom gate (only one as we’re on the BCN) Mick had managed to pick up something on the prop. A blast of reverse disposed of it, but now he was very very close to the arch of the bridge below. Thankfully he managed to manoeuvre away before any damage happened to the grab rail or pram hood.

Pale patches of grass suggests this lock had work done recently

You could tell the chap had started at the bottom of the locks as the next two got progressively worse, more duck weed and more and more rubbish collecting above the top gates.

Noisy motorbikes on the towpath

With todays fuel prices you would think that would put off the towpath motorbikes, but no. Two kept passing us, up and down the way almost to our planned destination. They paused at the drive through KFC then were heading back of into the distance again

.

Tiger, zebra, giraffe and a crocodile!

A hire boat came past, or was it an Ark? Only one of each animal on board though.

The canal now gets more and more urban. The M6 getting closer and closer all the time, HS2 will join in with this in years to come.

Natural light changing ugly into attractive

Over head a factory was built spanning the canal. Concrete pillars holding the weight beyond the towpath. Today we’d timed our cruise to perfection, the sun streaming in between the pillars. The colours of the (none too artistic) graffiti catching the light and creating an effect similar to that of stained glass. Wow! What a treat.

We were facing Spaghetti Junction, old bridges and new all starting to cross cross at speed above the slow moving canal below. Peeking through under the M6 we could see where we’d be stopping today, Star City.

Left left please

At Salford Junction I gave directions. Not straight on or just left but, ‘Left Left Please!’ Mick slowed Oleanna down and pushed the tiller over, several points to the turn and we were round and onto new water for all of us.

The River Tame below M6 above

Now on the Grand Union, we crossed over the River Tame which quietly trickles it’s way underneath transport old and new. Nechelles or Salford Bridge Stop Lock now has no gates but the canal narrows and a cottage sits behind big fences for it’s own protection. A cheery chap called out to us from the garden.

Ahead was our mooring for the night, Star City pontoon, a secure mooring behind a locked gate, or so we thought. On closer inspection someone has cut away the C&RT padlock. This may have been because the padlock broke. We pulled up at the near end, furthest away from the busy road bridge ahead.

What a long pontoon!

Star City has a huge cinema, bowling alley, restaurants etc. We’d not be visiting and neither would Tilly. This took a bit of explaining as to begin with the trees, cowslips and sideways trees looked appealing. But behind them was a service road then the carpark. The Cat Health and Safety Committee convened and decided it was too risky.

Chopping

After a late lunch Mick chopped up a log that had been fished out of the Aire and Calder by Al weeks ago in Goole. I started on a batch of Hot Paw Buns, mixing together the dough and leaving it to rise before adding the fruit and spices.

Only half of the rip!

Next on the jobs list was the port side cratch cover. Yes we’ve only just had the zips mended but unfortunately when Mick dropped me off at Nether Lock on the Trent the other day we were too busy protecting the cabin side to notice that the overhang attacked the pram cover! A rip along the skirt and a broken zip!

Mended a couple of times before

I’ve been looking online to see if it would be possible to mend the zip rather than replace it. With a pair of plyers in hand I had a go at following the advice I’d found, the zip head may have opened up and not be pushing the teeth together enough, so hopefully a squeeze back would do the job.

Squeeze

I gave the leading end of the zip a squeeze, a slight improvement, but I couldn’t squeeze anymore. Mick came and helped too. Maybe the back of the zip needed a squeeze too. We nudged the head down a touch opened up the teeth behind and applied pressure. Back up to the top as far as it could go and try again.

It would never be invisible so I don’t mind the brighter blue cotton

Well it looks like the job might be done as the teeth are now aligning and pushing together as they should do. We’ll see if it stays together tomorrow when I roll the covers up.

Mick checked the weed hatch, not much to report on the urban jellyfish front. We’ll see what we manage to catch in the morning!

Hot Paw Buns Click photo for recipe

Hot Paw Buns had their fruit and spices added. Normally I’d leave the the dough to rest again before shaping them, but today I experimented, shaping and adding their centres, leaving them on a tray to rise before going in the oven. It took them quite sometime to show any intention of rising, maybe they weren’t warm enough, maybe the yeast was past it’s best, or maybe I was pushing them too soon. But what really matters was how did they taste.

Going going….

Yummy as ever!

3 locks, 5.8 miles, 1 left left, 1 good soul, 1 dinted dinghy! 12 hot paw buns, 2 inches darned, 1 log kindling, 1 zip mended?

https://goo.gl/maps/Q3b8GrWZjhmQHurf6

Soaking Curdsworth. 13th April

Hopwas Wood Bridge to Curdworth Visitor Moorings

Not really a drip drip drip this morning, nor a drop drop drop! Hardly a little April shower! More a torrent!

If only!

As we had breakfast NB Freespirit came past, this would the last time we’d leapfrog as we’d be going in different directions today. Once the rain had stopped the covers were rolled back, the forecast suggested the rain had passed, we hoped so as we’d be working through locks today.

Three miles with plenty of moored and moving boats to keep our progress slow before we arrived at Fazeley. Here a share boat had just finished on the water point and was pushing out, a chap clung onto his centre line whilst waiting for the tap, a boat popped it’s bow out from the Coventry Canal and we turned right keeping to the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal.

Tolsons Mill

Tolson’s Mill has new metal windows, being painted today, part of the refurbishment that will see the old mill converted into 50 apartments, other buildings will be town houses. Long gone is the wonderful yarn shop that used to reside here, although my bank account is thankful.

Obligatory photo

The obligatory photo of Drayton Turret Footbridge was taken. Maybe next time I should walk this stretch to try to get a different angle on the bridge.

Swans sitting in the fields, it’s what they do around here

Should we climb a couple of locks before stopping for lunch or have it early? We passed the first mooring spot and very soon regretted not pulling in. The dark cloud that had been looming had caught up with us. The second M on Waterway Routes had some space so we quickly pulled in, the pram hood lifted and coats left to drip dry.

As we had lunch torrential showers came and went. Would the sun stay out for us doing the Curdworth flight. We already knew the forecasts were lying and that we’d get a soaking!

Lock ahead!

The first time we did this flight in October 2014 on NB Lilliyanne (known as Lillian after my Mum). We’d left Birmingham that morning and had aimed to get out of the ‘bad lands’ to either Minsworth or Curdworth that day. As we started the Curdworth flight the heavens opened drenching us to the skin. So today we were prepared for the weather.

Not in use anymore, thank goodness

The locks were just about all set in our favour, just a lift of a paddle to make opening the bottom gate was needed. The bottom lock we remained dry. I walked up the flight with Mick pulling in to the side in the first pound to hand me my waterproof coat. This was just as well as showers started. By the time we reached Lock 9 I shut the gate behind Oleanna and retreated to the shelter of the bridge below, waiting for the rain to ease. My waterproofs were doing their job of resisting the precipitation which was all now collecting inside my left trainer!

Brolly cruising

The rain eased a little, then returned. Despite waterproofs we both got pretty much soaked again. Mick lifted the pram cover whilst in a lock, but with reduced vision it’s not the best thing to cruise with up especially when there are low bridges about, oh to be stood in the cockpit of David’s boat with the windscreen wipers going!

By the time we were about half way up the flight the weather started to brighten up a touch and we could see a boat heading down the locks above. The next lock was opened up for us. HS2 will cross the canal in this short pound. To the north west of the canal traffic cones and fencing mark the route. To the south east earth works have already started and on the far side of the M42 large cranes were being erected, the bridge that crosses the canal will also have to cross the motorway.

Swapping locks

Chance to chat to people at a lock. They were the first of several hirers we’d meet today most doing the Warwickshire ring. These people are awaiting their slot for a new build boat by Ortomarine, an all electric boat, this will coincide with their kids starting to fend for themselves. I wished them luck with the build and we both headed off.

Not far now, through the top lock which was moved when the M6 Toll was built. Not much evidence of where it used to be, but the shadow of a lock on Waterway Routes shows where it once was, most definitely in the way of the motorway!

Red arrow shows where the lock used to be

We now cruised to find a mooring suitable for both us and Tilly. Somewhere we’d be able to dry out. Thankfully we arrived in time to grab a space between Curdworth Tunnel and Curdworth Bridge a tree lined cutting suitable for Tilly to play in for an hour or so.

Curdworth Tunnel, short but full of spiders!

We were soon surrounded and then passed by several more boats, mostly hire boats on the ring arriving a touch too late to get a mooring here, but there was plenty more space further on. I suspect we’ll be passing a few more boats tomorrow finishing their descent from Birmingham aiming for the Dog and Doublet as a reward for doing so many downhill locks in a day.

11 locks, 9.16 miles, 1 right, 2 open swing bridges, HS2, 2 soaked boaters, 1 hour exploration, 2 out of 3 times soaked, 20 years.

https://goo.gl/maps/dX5FB1AqYTYv2rqEA

Three Phase Pigeons. 12th April

Fradley Swing Bridge to Hopwas Wood

Rain! Oh well we’d have to get wet today.

We pulled back to the water point to fill the tank. The tap here is much much faster than the one back round the corner at the services, but that means the bins are further to walk to. Mick did the honours.

Beef and Beetroot curry

A day with no locks meant I felt happy using the stove to cook our evening meal, no chance of the pot being jolted from the stove top. The dish I had in mind would normally take three hours on Gas 1, so the perfect thing to sit on the stove all day.

Mick stood in the rain at the helm with wafts of cooking coming from below as I browned off some beef, steamed beetroot, zuzzed spices together added stock and left it all to very gently cook for many hours.

Streethay Wharf

The rain did stop, round about the time I’d finished cooking strangely enough! We’d reached Streethay Wharf and started to move away from the busy noisy A38.

Three Phase Pigeons

A group of pigeons sat on the electricity wires preening themselves. Fields recently tilled . The blackthorn blossom just starting to turn pink having just passed it’s best.

Mind those wires!

Works on HS2 can be seen across the fields. Cranes and earth movers. We hoped some of them were aware of the electricity lines!

At Whittington we crossed the border from the Coventry Canal (detached section) onto the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, marked by a stone on the towpath and the bridges no longer being numbered but now being named.

Pretty uninspiring

I hoped for a good photo of Whittington Bridge to be able to use as a first night card for panto this year, Dick Whittington, but everywhere was really rather uninspiring with grey cloud hanging around.

The poly tunnels are set back from the canal now, is it asparagus that is grown here? The weather vane still looks good even without sunshine.

Freespirit

We pootled on, the West Coast Main Line coming and going. Round the next bend was that familiar boat again, NB Freespirit. We slowed and said hello as we passed the windows, glancing back I could see the front door being opened. Mick popped Oleanna into reverse and then we hovered, managing quite a chat and catch up with Ian, Irene and Toffee their son’s dog. Lovely to see them again, they must have passed us at the crack of dawn.

Hello!

Just a bit further on for us, through the woods where the armed forces practice shooting each other, then we pulled up as soon as we could.

Trees ahead!

Trees! Lots of trees! Not that Tilly went climbing, she was far too busy checking out the friendly cover.

As the afternoon went by the aroma from the pot on the stove increased, it just needed to be finished of in the oven. I cooked some rice and made some gluten free nan breads to accompany the beef and beetroot curry. It is a recipe I discovered when we were getting regular veg boxes in the house and it is very tasty. Today I didn’t have a red chilli to add into the paste so it wasn’t hot, just the occasional kick from the ginger. It is still very tasty and there’s one portion left which has been frozen for another time. Would anybody like the recipe?

Curry and Nan (gf) Click on photo for recipe

Food was all done and dusted with in time for an on line talk by Alarum about the Birmingham Canals before they all got cleaned up.

Two thirds the audience this evening

Despite some IT glitches the talk was very interesting with reminiscences from women who’d helped with the clean up of the canals and what they’d been like before hand. The biggest surprise was how enclosed they all were. A gate into Gas Street basin and one entrance out of the Farmers Bridge flight, it was a locked away world. All those metal bridges you see are new. Plus the bridge at Worcester Bar, yes the one we all take photos of, back in the 70’s it was just a plank across the cut!

0 locks, 7.69 miles, 140ft reversed, 1 full water tank, 1 curry, 7 hours, 2 many boats on the move, 1 blogger, 278 trees, 1 cat happy, 1 canal talk.

‘I Thought I Was Going To Drown!’ 13th September

Damson Parkway Bridge 78A to Cast Iron Roving Bridge, Birmingham

Now yesterday I said we’d be starting our ascent into Birmingham this morning, well before we could start the climb there was a matter of cruising almost 6.5 miles before we actually dropped down 12.92 m, then we could start our ascent.

Birdies

An alarm was set and there were no cuppas in bed this morning, tea was had with breakfast. Surprisingly a boat came past a little before 8am, but it was a C&RT tug parting the water as it went, hopefully it wouldn’t be going as far as Camp Hill Locks.